The Essence of Tradition
Celebrating Bag Room Open & Reef Cup
It’s no secret that at the core of Ocean Reef Club is a deep history, rich with tradition. For almost 75 years, generations upon generations have taken part in these traditions that intrinsically make Ocean Reef a family club.
A quick scan through the Club calendar will highlight innumerable annual celebrations, many of which have been ongoing for decades. The 49th annual Member-Guest Tennis Tournament, the 25th annual Vintage Weekend, the 49th annual Member-Guest Golf Tournament, and the 28th annual Harvest Moon Extravaganza, to name a few.
Over the next week, Members will celebrate perhaps two of The Reef’s most treasured traditions – the 46th annual Bag Room Open and the 37th annual Reef Cup Invitational Sailfish Tournament.
46th Bag Room Open Begins Friday
What began as a way for Ocean Reef’s golf professionals to name the best professional on The Reef, has grown immensely to become one of the most meaningful and followed golf events on the Club calendar. In fact, Dan Fabian, the first official Bag Room Champion, remembered seeing only 20 to 30 carts during his final match of the 1977 inaugural tournament. Golf Chair Jodi Betz remarked that crowds now regularly exceed 100 carts.
“More and more Members come out each year to support and watch the rounds,” said Card Sound Golf Club’s Kyle Johnston, who has played in the most Bag Rooms of any professional since starting his career at Card Sound in 1994. “I hear Members talking about the tournament constantly, even planning their days around the rounds. It’s really special.”
Another part of what makes the Bag Room truly unique is the Golf Mentor Program, founded by the late Stan Ellis, which pairs Member mentors with Golf Staff mentees towards the goal of helping them blossom in their careers. During the Bag Room Open, these mentors also serve as caddies for their mentees.
For 46 years, the Bag Room Open has been a great way to show appreciation for the hard work and commitment shown by the golf staffs from both clubs. Members can follow the competition beginning today, March 4. See page 22 for the Bag Room bracket and schedule.
37th Reef Cup Begins March 9
Since the tradition began in 1986 with 24 participants squaring off for three days of serious sailfishing and nightly celebration, the Reef Cup Invitational Sailfish Tournament has become The Reef’s most anticipated fishing tournament of the season. Thirty-seven years later, the tournament is capped at a 60-boat fleet and has been held every year, rain or shine, since the inaugural tournament.
Reef Cup Committee member Ken Reda describes the tournament as “amongst the oldest time-honored events we host here at the Club.”
With a waitlist steadily maintained for years, it’s safe to say the Reef Cup tournament is widely regarded as The Reef’s most popular fishing tournament. And for the anglers that participate year after year, the tournament has historically become as much about friendship and camaraderie as the sailfishing itself.
As with every longstanding tradition, there comes a time for reform. This year, for the first time in tournament history, Reef Cup moved from its traditional January slot to March 9 to 12, aiming to capitalize on changing sailfish patterns and deliver higher tournament numbers, like the 507 releases seen in 2009.
Competition in the 2022 Reef Cup Invitational Sailfish Tournament begins Wednesday, March 9 with the Captain’s Meeting, followed by three days of fishing. Live results can be followed by visiting oceanreef.com/reefcupresults and Members can welcome anglers home from The Point daily at 4 p.m.
As proven over the past two years, time brings with it change, but even as the years go on, the essence of tradition and emphasis on family will always remain the cornerstone of Ocean Reef Club.